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Wednesday, 12 February 2014

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Stefanie

I haven't read this story since I was a kid and then it was a rather sanitized version. Really interesting how the story was changed from mother to step-mother. I've heard people in my family say of infants and toddlers they are so cute they could eat them. In the context of this story it makes one pause!

Jenny @ Reading the End

How cool the Eleanor Davis witch! Where did you find it? I love it!

Helen

Stefanie, I'm glad it's not just my family then! As for sanitising, I've even read (in the Jack Zipes book on the Brothers Grimm) that there are versions wherein the witch isn't stuffed into the oven by Gretel, which I do find slightly mystifying, how on earth do the children escape then? (Although I can understand why an adult editor might want to cut the bit about the witch's screams!)

I love the Eleanor Davis witch too, Jenny - in fact I love it so much I regretted that I'd written anything in this post other than 'Look at this wonderful witch!' I originally found it here: http://msnyder.typepad.com/the_labyrinth/2007/11/eleanor-davis-h.html but that particular photograph is from here: http://metoperafamily.org/en/gallery/exhibitions/Gallery-Met-Hansel-and-Gretel/ (you have to click on 'next' a few times). And here you can see that the 'roof' comes off: http://ullam.typepad.com/ullabenulla/2007/11/hansel-and-gret.html

litlove

Fascinating, Helen! What a wonderful post full of rich analysis. My mother used to tell me she could 'eat me all up' and used to pretend to nibble my toes. I should say that this was when I was a small child, not recently.... funnily enough, I can recall trying not to do it to my son, though I certainly remember that intense mother love for a child's gorgeous peachiness. But then my son never liked his personal space to be invaded unless he'd requested it!

Helen

Thank you litlove! 'Peachy' is a great adjective in the circumstances. I wonder at what point exactly we lose the urge to nibble at our children? Adolescence? Earlier?

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